Camp 4 Collective: Sanctity of Space


Camp 4 Collective’s Renan Ozturk is working on a passion project called the Sanctity of Space alongside Freddie Wilkinson, a film about “the alchemy of landscape and people amidst the mountains of Alaska.” The clip above, called The Ridge was filmed this past June in Denali National Park.

They’re using a Cineflex Elite camera system that’s externally mounted to the hull of the chopper which these guys operate via a laptop control box from inside. Pretty cutting edge stuff.

Film is set to release sometime in 2015 and I could not be more excited.



I felt like the blog needed a little splash of color. So, here we are. Submergence is an art installation comprised of 8,064 suspended LED lights designed and built by a collection of international artists known as Squidsoap.  The piece contains motion sensors that respond to your movements as you explore it. It’s currently on display at Gallery ROM for Art & Architecture in Oslo, Norway.





Submergence01 from squidsoup on Vimeo.

[via Colossal]

The Verge: Obama Heads Back to Office, a Battle Rages Over the Tech that Got him Re-Elected

The tech team behind the 2012 Obama campaign has probably received more attention than any political programmers in history. A so-called “dream team of engineers from Facebook, Google and Twitter [who] built the software that drove Barack Obama’s reelection” were extolled in the press for bringing Silicon Valley strategies like Agile development to the normally hidebound process of a political campaign. In the post mortems that followed Obama’s victory, many credited the superiority of the Democrats’ tech team and its famous Narwhal platform, in contrast to the failure of Mitt Romney’s digital efforts, with mobilizing the vote and winning crucial swing states.

But in the aftermath of the election, a stark divide has emerged between political operatives and the techies who worked side-by-side. At issue is the code created during the Obama for America (OFA) 2012 campaign: the digital architecture behind the campaign’s website, its system for collecting donations, its email operation, and its mobile app. When the campaign ended, these programmers wanted to put their work back into the coding community for other developers to study and improve upon. Politicians in the Democratic party felt otherwise, arguing that sharing the tech would give away a key advantage to the Republicans. Three months after the election, the data and software is still tightly controlled by the president and his campaign staff, with the fate of the code still largely undecided. It’s a choice the OFA developers warn could not only squander the digital advantage the Democrats now hold, but also severely impact their ability to recruit top tech talent in the future.

Really interesting dynamic at play here.  The Obama campaign clearly owns the software, because they paid for the work that went into it.  But, it was built off of open source projects, implying that, ethically, it should be given back to the developer community to evolve and improve upon.  I don’t see the Obama administration caving on this one. But if they don’t, you have to wonder, how powerful is the coding community and what would be the price of ignoring them?

[via The Verge]

A Glimpse Into the Field of Synthetic Biology

I just started reading Regenesis. It’s a book that explores the future of the field of synthetic biology, written by geneticist George Church and science writer Ed Regis. Super exciting and scary at the same time. This excerpt sums up the potential of the field quite nicely:

…What these examples hinted at, however, was something far more important than mere political correctness, namely, that biological organisms could be viewed as a kind of high technology, as nature’s own versatile engines of creation. Just as computers were universal machines in the sense that given the appropriate programming they could simulate the activities of any other machine, so biological organisms approached the condition of being universal constructors in the sense that with appropriate changes to their genetic programming, they could be made to produce practically any imaginable artifact. A living organism, after all, was a ready-made, prefabricated production system that, like a computer, was governed by a program, its genome. Synthetic biology and synthetic genomics, the large-scale remaking of a genome, were attempts to capitalize on the facts that biological organisms are programmable manufacturing systems, and that by making small changes in their genetic software a bioengineer can effect big changes in their output.

The lines between living and non-living, and organic and inorganic are becoming harder and harder to distinguish.  And this is really just the tip of the iceberg.  So, if you’ve got a tolerance for some basic level bio-speak then I highly recommend checking out the book.  I’m sure I’ll have more to share once I’m all the way through it.


Amplify is a business, created in partnership with AT&T that will leverage digital tools and technologies to improve the teaching and learning experience in K-12 eduction.


Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify, put it this way, “It is our aim to amplify the power of digital innovation to transform teaching and learning and to help schools deliver fundamentally better experiences and results…Amplify will introduce new products in a thoughtful way, so that technology can finally live up to its promise to advance learning and augment teaching for students, teachers and parents everywhere.”


Amplifty is divided up into three key areas of focus, including:

  • Amplify Insight: which will use advanced education analytics to learn about and assess strengths and weaknesses within the teaching process, enabling administrators and teachers to adapt their techniques to the individual needs of their students.
  • Amplify Learning: will create a new natively-digital curriculum that re-invents the teaching and learning process, initially focusing on English, Science and Math.
  • Amplify Access: is developing a tablet-based platform that will bundle curricular content that extends the classroom beyond the walls of the school and hours of the traditional school day. Analytics and 4G connectivity will enable personalized instruction anywhere.

And if that’s not enough, they’ve created a content-rich digital forum that allows anyone with a passion for teaching and learning to remain abreast to the latest research and insights impacting education in America.  Seriously, check out the website.  It’s really well done.


Twheel is a sexy new Twitter app for iPhone & iPad that rather than structuring your feed in a linear fashion, turns it into an unending wheel.  Love the functionality and design. Unlike all the other makers of Twitter apps, these guys threw everything out the window and started from scratch.

The makers claim that the improved design speeds up the rate at which you can go through your tweets and it does so all while highlighting one at a time, which adds a nice level of simplicity. The app also makes it easy to identify tweets with greater influence and reach.

Definitely worth downloading and taking for a spin.


UN Global Pulse: Using Big Data to Solve Big Problems

I’ve been wanting to share this for some time, but back in April, I had the opportunity to hear Robert Kirkpatrick talk about the United Nation’s Global Pulse, an innovation arm that is exploring how to use big data to respond to global crisis in a faster, more effective manner.

To put it simply, Robert and his team are trying to capitalize on the increased use of mobile technology, social networking platforms, GPS tools and online transactions, collectively dubbed “Big Data,” to capture real-time snapshots of collective behavior changes.  This information, when properly aggregated and analyzed can enable the U.N. to respond to potential crises much faster than in the past.

As an example of what this passive data can show Global Pulse partnered with Crimson Hexagon and analyzed tweets from Indonesian users pertaining to rice.  Coincidentally, there was a strong correlation between the volume of tweets about the price of rice and fluctuations in the commodity’s price (see below).


As you might imagine, this effort is not without a wealth of challenges.  Among them is tremendous concerns over privacy as well as gaining access to the data in the first place.  What’s interesting to note is that businesses all over the world (e.g. banks, credit card companies, etc.) possess enormous amounts of information about their customers, but are often unwilling to share it with the U.N.

Facebook comes to mind in this instance as well.  One in 8 people around the world are a member of the social network and share enormously valuable information about their experiences on a regular basis.  One would hope that this vast reservoir of data could be used for more than just creating more targeted advertisements.

Regardless of the challenges, this is a great snapshot into the power that big data holds for developing (and developed) countries.

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